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White British/Tamil Indian couple - SW London

(6 Posts)
Heysnooks Sun 20-Mar-11 10:03:20

Hi

I am White British and a primary teacher. My husband is Tamil Indian and has been in the country since last June. We come from very different backgrounds, have had a hell of a journey to get to where we are but now are expecting our first baby in June. I am just wondering if there is anyone else out there (especially in SW London area) with a similar relationship make-up!

My husband's upbringing has been much more traditional in terms of his religion/culture/family etc than mine. We are keen to honour both cultures and will be bringing the baby up bilingually (I am hoping my Tamil improves too!). While I am Christian by birth, I am now more spiritual by nature and my husband is Hindu - so we will be combining this.

We know there will be some interesting challenges ahead (to add to the joy and adventure) and would love it if there is anyone around to bounce ideas off/share experiences etc.

Do get in touch if you feel like it!

zeus123 Tue 05-Apr-11 06:39:43

Which country is he from? Although he might be a Tamil, there are lot of differences depending on where is from.Good luck.
Feel free to ask or pm me .

Heysnooks Thu 14-Apr-11 09:06:34

Thank you Zeus123.

He is from Tamil Nadu, South India and considers himself Tamil first and Indian second. His family are from a very small, rural, farming village not too far from Chennai in distance but a million miles away in all other respects.

I am always aware that this can make a big difference in how he can be treated by others though this is more evident in India than here. It is obviously very much part of his psyche though and affects how he views and reacts to things. Luckily, I have spent a lot of time living in Tamil Nadu though still have to remind myself that he is 'hardwired' in a very different way to me!!

We are close to a large Sri Lankan Tamil community (indeed, I teach in a school with many Sri Lankan Tamil children) but there are huge differences, as you said, and the fact that we are a 'mixed' couple makes those differences even greater.

Friends of mine are mostly accepting of our relationship (can't say the same for my family but that is a whole other story!) but it is very different to knowing couples who share similar experiences and challenges - I would love HIM to have someone to offload to sometimes!!!

zeus123 Fri 06-May-11 21:31:05

Hi
Pm me if you want any advice.

Apphia Tue 14-Jun-11 08:37:01

Hello Zeus

I'm white british and my husband is tamil (though we grew up in the same area so perhaps not quite as tricky...).

We had our first baby last year. Our main difficulties came from his parents expectations on how things would work following the birth. As I'm sure you are aware from your time in Tamil Nadu, my mil wanted to move in with us and suggested she could care for the baby whilst I cooked etc... this didn't go down well :-) Are your husband’s family in the UK?

We're trying to include both cultures/religions in our daughters upbringing and to start this off we have her christening planned to include tamil bajans etc... We'll organise a hindu blessing close to the date.

It is challenging but you sound like a super wife - probably more understanding than me!

Let me know if you have specific questions, i'd be very happy to help.

Heysnooks Sat 09-Jul-11 08:28:08

Hi Apphia

Haven't been on Mumsnet for a while so didn't see your reply - many thanks for it!

My husband's family are not in the UK but in India though he is in daily contact with them.

Our little girl was born just a month ago and we are planning to go out to India in a few months and will stay for 6 months. We will be living about an hour away from them and the journey is not that easy given that there is only 1 bus daily they can get to us. We do not have a car and I am not sure how comfortable I am with doing the Indian thing of all of us hopping on the back of a motorbike! So, in that respect, we will not be living in each others' pockets.

I am a little nervous about it though. On one hand, I want advice and to learn from them - coming from the village, there is a lot of traditional Indian wisdom there. On the other, there are differences in approaches which my husband is doing so well to take on board! But he keeps saying that his mum can come and stay and she will do all the washing (we will not have a washing machine), babysitting(the whole point of going is that I will not have to work so will have the time with our baby) etc . This fills me with panic; not so much because she is his mother but she speaks no English and suffers from hip problems as it is and shouldn't have to be doing that sort of 'work' at her age. Moreso, with her being so traditional, I would have to watch everything I do - can't just mooch about in a vest top in the house, not so easy to pop out and see my friends for lunch, can't sit down in front of a movie etc.

As you said, I want us to bring her up with the best of both our cultures. His family have no experience or understanding of 'Western' culture and have never travelled much out of their immediate environment so it can be difficult, sometimes impossible, for them to understand my perspective. Obviously, I want them to be an integral part of her life, and her theirs, but it will be a difficult balance to achieve and the last thing I want to do is upset anyone.

Maybe I am worrying too much and I will know how to approach it all when we get there!!

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